Monday, January 31, 2011
I've been wearing the gadget off & on for a whole week now. I have been determining my limits. I really can't wear it the 23 hours they wanted us to to "baseline" without risking a skin rash. But I can wear it during my workouts and my normal workday, as long as I take it off right away after the sweat-inducing workouts and clean it, sync it up, and not put it back on until I'm clean and dry myself.
What it measures to come up with its "calories out" are:
Heat flux (rate at which heat is dissipating from the body
Motion (3 axis accelerometer) is reflected in a step count.
When synced up, a web site displays calories burned per minute throughout the time you wore it. The same web site allows you to log your foods, but you can also enter an estimate of calories consumed (which, surprise, you get from your Spark nutrition tracker if you like that better). Then it tells you whether over the course of the week you are on a weight loss, weight gain, or maintenance trend.
IF you wear it overnight, it detects when you were truly asleep versus just lying down. That was interesting, indeed, for me. Since I found I really can't wear it overnight, I am glad it didn't reveal anything particularly surprising.
Bottom line: it really didn't tell me anything I didn't already know or was able to detect. In other words, when I'm having trouble sleeping, I already know that. It picks up on the times my dog wakes me to go out in the middle of the night, or I get up for a potty trip. It shows how long it took to fall back to sleep (not long most of the time)... and how long I really stayed asleep. As I said, while interesting, not essential.
As for the exercise detection? It separates "moderate" from "vigorous" based on various factors. And again, little surprise. Most of my activity is "moderate". I only get to "vigorous" when I'm walking in excess of 4.5 miles an hour (or jogging). Snow shoveling shows up as moderate. I kind of already knew this, too, based on heart rate monitor results.
So... if you're jealous of the gadget... don't be. You can be successful without it. The only really good thing it does is give me confidence that I am on track. That when I think I'm exercising a lot? I'm still OK with my calorie range. I don't need 500 more calories today!
Pre-training for the half marathon has continued, interrupted by my illness. I did about 4.5 miles on Saturday, and 5.8 on Sunday, including warm up and cool down both days. So, feeling good about that. This week, snow shoveling will be my cross training, if the forecast has anything to say about it.
Have a great Monday, all.
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Progress / maintenance pictures. I updated the front page to show the "year" of progress / maintenance, putting up one from the end of last January, and one from this morning. As we get closer and closer to where I reached my final "home range", you'll see less and less difference in actual weight, possibly still see some additional muscle definition.
BUT, one thing I promise I won't show you is the loose skin. Yeah, I have that issue. It's hidden under the clothing. I notice it when I take my waist and hip measurements... my skin is larger than the body underneath it. It's like a sweater that is too big for me. It's getting better as I walk/jog more, but I don't think it will ever go completely away.
I don't think I'll do anything surgically about it. There's a reason for that. You see, it's a reality of what I have done to myself over time (decades) with my obsession with food. It is a part of my history. I know that procedures exist to tighten things up, and every so often when I look at the sags, I ponder whether I would. Each time I have, I end up concluding that I need to wait until I've kept the weight off for five years, and seen how much an active lifestyle maintained helps the skin "do its own thing" as much as it can.
Even then, I suspect the only way I would undergo surgery is if a doctor told me it was medically advisable for some other reason. At the same time, I started coloring my hair again, after not doing so for about ten years. Who knows what the future holds?
What about the rest of my Spark friends? Are there reasons you might consider having excess skin removed? Does your age have anything to do with your opinion? Does your spouse - significant other - single status affect your thoughts?
Saturday, January 29, 2011
it has been warmer all week, and those mounds of snow in the background of my page are slowly melting.
Meanwhile, my trip to the sidelines with whatever bug it was on Thursday was followed by a shaky but improving return to work day on Friday. And today, I'm declaring myself human again, albeit cautiously so. Going to ease back in to working out. Yesterday I took shorter, slower walking breaks. I did some strength training after work, since I did feel up to it. But I didn't press my luck.
This morning I slept in, 'til after 6! I even stayed in bed with my eyes closed and allowed myself to veg for ten minutes before sitting up and climbing out. Then I had a leisurely breakfast before taking the car in to get its oil changed. Later I might go do a grocery run, but other than that, I intend it to be a "putter around the house" day.
One foot in front of the other, one day at a time. Spark on.
Friday, January 28, 2011
When I was a kid, my mom had this rule: if you're too sick to go to school, you're too sick to play. That childhood training kind of lingers even now. It's not entirely true, you know. You can be too ill to be effective at work and still have enough oomph to post something online. But I've also found that when I'm not feeling well, my thoughts don't track well, so I'm not sure I'd trust myself to make sense on line. So, no blog yesterday.
As I generally do when finding myself "not up to snuff", I ran through my check list of "self-inflicted" as a sanity check. This time I found among the suspects:
A night of insomnia earlier in the week (Monday night)
My failed attempt to donate blood on Tuesday (they hooked me up, the blood was flowing too slow, and they had to pull the plug with only about a third of a donation)
A late night phone call that reduced sleep a second night (Tuesday night)
More sodium than normal in the diet on Wednesday... led me to suspect dehydration? I felt really, really thirsty, but I knew I'd had at least 10, maybe 12 cups of water on Wednesday, too.
A co-worker observing that I looked "tired" (I think that was Tuesday, too)
Feeling fatigued and reluctant to even begin my four miles Wednesday evening, but doing it anyway... have I been overtraining?
It is kind of a chicken-egg argument... some of these could also be symptoms of whatever it was, and I could have been "coming down" with it for a few days. I decided the better part of valor would be to stay home and take it easy. So I did.
This morning, better rested, I still have a few of the symptoms, but not enough to keep me home from work.
I only have to get through Friday. Then comes the weekend to recuperate and re-assess. Here's to a better today!
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Short background for those who missed earlier blogs: The "gadget" is a BodyMedia GoWear fit armband. I was excited to get it wore it two days, arm broke out. Folks gave me some suggestions, some of which aren't feasible (clear nail polish on the metal would interfere with its function to detect electrical conductivity, etc.). Others suggested I take it back... and I am still considering doing that. But first... I just had to give it a second chance.
After the arm healed, I went back and read directions. Went to a website to read all about other people's experience with the arm breaking out. Got some suggestions of things to try, and being me, have been giving the gadget another try.
Here's the list of "caveats":
1. Make sure your arm is completely dry after your shower before you put the gadget on.
2. As soon as done with a workout that produced moisture (sweat, folks, yeah!)... take it off, clean and dry it! After your shower, again make sure the arm is dry before putting it back on.
3. Every so often, disinfect the gadget with isoprophyl alcohol, just as you would your earrings!
4. Don't wear it all the time. The recommendation says max at 23 hours a day... I'm saying for those of us more sensitive... wear it a good deal less. So if I know I'm going to be inactive (like overnight, if I'm not doing a deliberate "quality of sleep" measurement) or watching TV or Sparking... do I really need to have it on?
5. Some other folks have recommended moving it to different spots on the body, even though that's not what the instruction book says. They had "ok" results in using the other arm, and in some cases, a leg. I haven't tried this yet, but reserve it as an option.
All that said, I'm giving it another shot, and have been wearing it since Saturday again. So, four days, no breaking out... being very, very careful.
Wish me luck... I'll post what it tells me another time.
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